A Time For Renewal, Cycles, and Rebirth

Everything in the universe moves in cycles, and these cycles are necessary to live. The moon tells the oceans when to ebb and flow, seasons tell us when to sow and reap, and darkness tells us when our day should end. Our whole universe is involved in cycles, including us. We leave one phase and enter a new one. And each cycle offers some kind of rebirth and renewal. And all of nature shouts it’s claim to a new springtime, “Look at me. I’m alive, expressing who and what I am.”

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  ~Doug Larson

Snow has melted, and crunchy slush takes over. It’s springtime again…life coming forth at just the precise time and in the precise way according to nature’s plan. Trees turn green, blossoms of every color discard their buds, butterflies emerge from cocoons, bears come out of their caves and stretch in the warm sun, and every little fuzzy critter scampers to explore what his buddies are up to. Every year we’re treated to nature’s brand new technicolor presentation of rebirth and renewal. And it’s breathtaking.

I remember when I was a child in Michigan, and springtime wrapped her arms around the earth and replaced the drab haze of winter with her gifts of rebirth and renewal. I saw it in fields of tulips with every color in the rainbow and in blue and yellow wildflowers pushing up randomly along my path to school. I listened to birds and night owls pouring their songs into springtime air becoming reacquainted with lost friends and celebrating new ones. I felt spring breezes and warm sun caressing my bare legs when I discarded my leggings until the next cold winter. I watched lightning dart across the sky heralding springtime rain. And then I danced in the rain, hopped through puddles, and tasted rain drops on my tongue.

Every spring I joined nature in her celebration. With all of my senses, I was part of this glorious transformation. I saw life in nature, and I felt life in myself like we were part of each other in God’s great universe. I saw it and felt it everywhere. Then I grew up and forgot to notice. And springtime grew to mean days were longer, we could save on the electric bill, and vacation time was getting closer. Where did joy of the season go? Recently I looked around and realized it’s all still there…every year.

“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.” ~Rachel Carson

Fall and winter energy pulls us in and says slow down, let go, and regroup. Spring and summer energy pushes us out and says move forward, take on the new, and express your colors. Just like everything in nature we’re wired for seasonal change, physically, mentally, and spiritually. And we can’t help responding to those seasonal changes. We can either respond with resistance and become more physically disturbed and less motivated, or we can answer the call and become more healthy and invigorated.

Now is when old painful experiences can pass away and make room for a new beginning, like flowers budding anew after a hard freeze. We’ve all been through those hard freezes. But we need to open our eyes to the possibilities that present themselves every spring. Do you ever think about rebirth and renewal within yourself, or are you content to continue living in the old script you’ve written for your life? Everyone creates a script. It’s like a recipe for living, and we act it our everyday. We may have visions or dreams of how we’d like to change it, but most of the time those fade away, and our springs come and go as they always have.

“Those who plow in hope not only understand the law of the harvest, but they also understand what growing seasons are all about.”  ~Neal A. Maxwell

How about taking a lesson from the tulips or butterflies, or like the bear, be brave enough to come out of your cave. Within each of us is a light so bright you can write a whole new script and experience positive changes in your life. A time of rebirth. A time of renewal. Search deep within. What are your colors? What is your song? What are the words you want to say? Someone said, “Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.” So spread your wings and fly. It’s your springtime.

I wish you beautiful discoveries in your springtime.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes”

Heal Your Total Self by Healing Your Inner Child…

Many, if not most people today are familiar with Eric Berne’s psychological theory regarding the parent, child and adult ego states, different parts of ourselves from which we function. The parent expresses our value systems, morals, and beliefs, and may be critical or nurturing. The child is our feeling self. And the adult uses rational thinking and problem-solving and tries to keep the parent and child in balance. If we become familiar with these parts of ourselves, we can work with them and create a healthier, happier life.

“We’ve all had traumas and painful experiences as children. But you don’t have to be adversely affected by the past when you start healing the child within.”    ~Unknown

Since the child is our feeling self, when you feel sad, hurt, angry, scared, frustrated, any painful feelings, that’s your child crying for help. And your child needs attention. We’re all human, and we will have those feelings sometimes. They’re part of life, and we can’t totally shut down all negativity. But you can be aware of your feelings, know where they’re coming from, and turn to your inner child with love and compassion. You can learn to diminish the negative and increase the positive feelings. And your inner child, and thus you can learn to be happier.

“It is necessary to own and honor the child you were in order to love the person you are.” ~ Robert Burney

As you become more familiar and relate more with your inner child, you’ll know right away how to work out any painful feelings. And you and the child part of you will feel more like the one person you are. But it’s also important to recognize your parent self, the self that can be critical or nurturing, and your adult self with its rational thinking and problem-solving skills. Then when your parent self-gets critical, you can call on your adult self to handle the situation and free your inner child from more hurt.

“She held herself until the sobs of the child inside subsided entirely. I love you, she told herself. It will all be okay.”  ~Raven Rose

Seems like you go in and out of different characters, doesn’t it? Well, all 3 of them are you, and whether you know it or not, you’ve been using all of them all of the time…crying with pain, criticizing yourself, and your adult self-intervening.

Example Scenario: Suppose someone said something unkind to you, and you were hurt and cried (That’s your child self). Then a voice in your head said, “Oh, can’t take it, huh? Stop that blubbering (That’s your parent self). Then you dried your tears and told yourself, “Never mind. You’re loved and you do matter (That’s your adult self-soothing your inner child feelings). We use all parts of our self automatically.

Now there’s another side to all of this. While you’re healing the hurts and drying the tears, your inner child would really like to have some funl. You know, the things you used to do before you got so busy. So let her/him out sometimes. Sing with the birds, make funny faces and laugh at yourself, walk in the rain, dance around the house, eat an ice cream cone and let it melt down your belly. The list is endless. The more you laugh, the less pain you will feel. And it will be so much easier being you.

“There is a child inside all of us who continues to believe that it can always get better. That it doesn’t end here.”  ~Vienna Pharaon

When your child self is happy, you look up instead of down. It raises your sights to who you really are…God’s beautiful creation who only wants good in your life. You have the strength to successfully meet life’s challenges. You have the wisdom to make wise choices and create peace instead of pain. You have the courage to bring what’s good for you into your life and rule out what’s not. You live each day with faith and hope. And you learn to love your wonderful self. You heal your inner child, you heal yourself. And life can be so good.

I wish you fun being you.

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  ““Silent Echoes” and writer for “Keys To Recovery” …

How Do You Respond When Unexpected Life Challenges Knock You To Your Knees?

Life itself is a series of problem-solving. That’s what we do. We move through each day on various levels of energy, sometimes easy going and sometimes difficult. Everything affects everything else. So with experience, we learn what to expect and how to handle what we encounter. And we do pretty well in that environment. But what about those unexpected situations that suddenly arise without warning. Sometimes they seem to come out of nowhere and may be the result of our own actions. Most of the time they’re fixable situations, but some can put your life in turmoil.

“It’s the unexpected that changes our lives.”   Unknown

Some unexpected situations may seem fairly minor but can skyrocket your stress level….like when you’re ready for work and discover your car has a flat time or you forget to register your kid for summer camp; etc. Those situations can force you in a direction you didn’t know was coming.

On a more serious side, you suddenly lose your job; or a major health issue invades your life and robs you of your independence. A few years ago after a hurricane had passed, a gigantic tree limb crashed to the ground in my back yard. I was grateful it spared my house, but the thundering sound was deafening, and I was frozen to the shaking floor. Removing that tree limb became a major challenge.

Another time through no fault of mine, I was suddenly in a serious car wreck. I spent 2 months in residential treatment, and went from a wheelchair to a walker and then a cane. Recovery was long and hard, and I didn’t drive for a year. Serious yet, if you suddenly lose a loved one, this kind of unexpected trauma requires some inner healing and time with others close to you for understanding and comfort. And the loss may always be there.

“Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference.”   ~Virginia Satir

We all respond in different ways to the unexpected. Sometimes the first response is to get hung up on ‘What ifs’. What if I’m late for work; what if my kid thinks I forgot because I don’t care; What if I can’t find another job; what if I never get well; what if there’s another limb ready to fall; what if I’ll never walk again; what if I can’t recover. Or you might dive right in with an immediate action. If there’s danger like a fire, you’d probably swallow your panic and get help right away.

“What gets measured, gets managed.”   ~Peter Drucker

Unless you’re facing an emergency, your first concern should be what you’re feeling inside. Panic, even the initial stress, can cloud your mind, and you could miss your best options for a solution. Just a few moments within can make a big difference in your outcome. If you can, let the problem be, and identify what’s going on inside. What are you feeling….panic, fear, trauma, anger, regret, sadness, grief? What is it, and how severe? Notice your breathing. Any racing thoughts? Now take some deep breaths, and allow your body and mind to let go as much as possible. And give up the ‘what ifs’ and ‘ain’t it awful’….

When you’re a little calmer, just step back and gauge the size of the mountain. Ask, “How big is it really? What can I do about it? What happens if I can’t fix it? Where can I find help if I need it? etc.” Meet each day knowing you have what it takes to handle whatever comes up. And those puddles may not be as deep as they seem.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”   ~Unknown 

If an unexpected situation is a result of your own mistake, never condemn yourself. Adding a problem to the one you already have does nothing beneficial. So don’t do it. Instead, say some affirmations. “I am strong enough to lick this tiger and smart enough to find a clear road ahead.”  Sometimes an unexpected difficulty now is the very thing that may lead you to that clear road ahead. Look for it with clear vision.

I wish you Peace in your Heart along the way.

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer

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Heal Your Inner Child’s Wounds …


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Emotional scars from childhood remain with us into our adult life. We stay busy and try to push them out, but they’re always there, and they affect our moods, our self-image, and our choices. An example of childhood pain is related in the following excerpt from my book Silent Echoes. It takes place in the 1930s Depression years when I was in elementary school. My mother worked in a bar to support 3 children, and began drinking too much.
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Excerpt variation: I learned to get the pail and wet cloth when I’d hear her coming in from work mumbling and weaving across the room toward the bed. She’d tell me not to wake my brothers, because she didn’t want to worry them. I’d lay close to her, listening for the sounds of her sick stomach, and then jump up and hold the pail until I heard the dry heaves and knew there was no more sick to come up. Later,
when we’d lay back in bed, I’d listen while she’d cry and ramble on about the past when times were good and about her fears for the future.

“Your Daddy loved us,” she’d say. “He was so strong and handsome. He didn’t care if I wasn’t like his family. You were Daddy’s little girl. Did you know that?”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“We had everything then. I didn’t have to go out and work and raise kids by myself. I didn’t have holes in my shoes … hell, I didn’t even have to wear shoes.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“Why didn’t the family provide for us? Why the hell do I have to go through this?”
“Please don’t get mad, Mama.”
“Who wouldn’t get mad? My mother leaves me in a place for orphans, and now I’m left like this. Who the hell wouldn’t get mad?”
“I don’t know, Mama.”
“You won’t leave me, will you, honey? I don’t know what I’d do without you kids.”
“No, Mama.”
“You’ll always be my good girl and never leave me?”
“Yes, Mama.”

When she stopped crying and talking I’d snuggle close and hug her arm. Then it was all right for me to cry, because she was asleep and couldn’t hear me. I remember being so confused. I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to do with my own hurt, so I pushed it way down someplace where I couldn’t feel it so much, and I left it there to make room for the next time.
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I learned to watch her moods, and when she was grouchy, I knew better than to get in the way. I’d take my little brother out to play, or if a funeral was happening at the mortuary next door, we’d sit on the front steps and watch the people in black clothes crying and following the coffin to the waiting hearse. And we talked about what it must be like to die.
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Healing childhood wounds.
No child escapes those hurtful times, some minor, some major, but just as you needed positive strokes when you were a child, your inner child may need that now. Setting aside some time everyday for that part of you to experience a second childhood, a happy one, can help heal the past and promote health in your life. Talk to your inner child often, express your love, and invite him/her to come out and play. Be silly, dance in the rain, laugh at yourself, refuse to eat your Brussels sprouts, whatever gives you joy. And watch that child blossom.

I wish you a happy, peaceful heart.

Marilyn

http://www.amazon.com/Silent-Echoes-Marilyn-Fowler/dp/1432749498/

Silent Echoes